Instructables
video Solar Powered Go Kart


In this project we took a go kart frame designed to take a gas engine and made it electric and solar powered. It uses a 48V SLA battery pack with a EMC-ME0909 Brushed DC motor, 0-5k Ohm Pot Box throttle, Alltrax 4834 controller and an Astronergy 5612M 190W solar panel to charge the pack. Runs great with a top speed of ~20-25mph, and because of the solar panel a potentially infinite range!

A full description of this project can be seen at www.therenewableyou.com.

A description of all of the parts, the cost of the parts and where we go the parts from is available as a PDF at this link here.   The PDF also includes some notes about the electrical design.  The entire project cost about $2500, including shipping on the parts.  Some welding and machine work was required.

The baseline of the electrical system is from the Alltrax electrical diagram for EVs, at this link here.  It has wall chargers but the primary source of energy is the solar panel on the roof of the kart, which is always on and always charging.

I hope this inspires others to realize that there is no need to wait, the time is now to build solar powered EVs that run off the sun!

This project was sponsored by The Brian Robertson Foundation and Quickgit.com.
847MicRoss6 months ago

I don't have much info on this project but here's what I know.

Location : Freedom Field , Rockford Illinois

Its a 250 watt panel , top speed of 30mph


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ankita ranjan7 months ago

we are making a solar powered vehicle as our project.So,we wanted to know about the motor specifications for a vehicle weighing 300 kg, including the persons weight .We wanted to know about the speed controller specifications too. Our vehicle have 2 solar panels giving total of 200 W as output .

RenewableYou (author)  ankita ranjan7 months ago

Hi Ankita. 300kg, inclusive of the passenger weight, is about the weight that we had on this project, therefore I recommend a motor and controller similar to what we used. The best reference for our work is this document (http://www.therenewableyou.com/gokart@try.com.pdf). The other great reference is the circuit diagram from Electric Motorsport, which is at this link (http://electricmotorsport.com/ev-parts/controllers/brushed-motor-controllers/alltrax-axe4834-24-48v-300a.html#)

how does a 15hp brushed dc motor run with 190W solar panel source?
RenewableYou (author)  ELLINAJ10231 year ago
The panel is 190W rated, 24V wired. The 24V panel charges the 24V battery pack via a Morningstar charge controller. Then the 24V pack runs the motor via a PWM motor controller set to run on a 24V circuit. Most of the info is in the video and the parts list.
i was thinking i could put a roof on my electric bike and add a solar pannel but thought a 200w solar pannel would likely be too big for a bike and possibly unsafe in the wind, though they do have rooves on those bmw bikes but not quite this big lol
i was wondering if it was 200-250w had pedals and restricted to 15.5mph could 1 of these be driven on the uk roads under the same legal status as an ebike requireing no licence tax mot insurance etc coz i would so build one lol
czhanacek2 years ago
My friends and I were thinking that something like this would be a great summer project. This will certainly give us some great ideas. Thank you!!!
RenewableYou (author)  czhanacek2 years ago
Certainly, you are welcome. I highly recommend it.
MacOSJoey2 years ago
About how many amp-hours does your battery bank hold? Also, how many miles can it get per a charge (or can it go unlimited due to constant solar recharging)?

Very cool project and very nicely done! Wish there would have been a step by step though on the project, but nonetheless very nice!
Also, regenerative braking might save a ton of that energy for use later!

Do you have any problems with the metal hood shorting the batteries? That could be a big problem if your on a rougher terrain.
RenewableYou (author)  MacOSJoey2 years ago
For all those who are interested in this project, you can get a ReGen capability if you use a different Alltrax controller. I would reach out to AllTrax directly for the best information.

The metal hood is fairly far away from the battery terminals, but we do protect the circuit with a 250A fuse.
RenewableYou (author)  MacOSJoey2 years ago
Thanks! Each battery is a 50 Ahr, 12V. Two in series is 24V, 50 Ahr. Now, don't take my math to the bank, but I believe we are pulling around 350W at a steady 20mph on the cart. Say it is really sunny outside and we are getting 170W from the solar panel, that means we are effectively using the difference, 180W. At 24V, that is 7.5A continuous, so at a depth of discharge at 50%, that's 3.3 hrs of run time. At 20mph, that's 66 miles.

We will consider adding a PDF link with some step by step. Almost everything was off the shelf. The go kart came pre-assembled, the rest of the parts just needed to be mounted and wired.
THAT IS AWESOME MAN!!
Love your shop!!!
RenewableYou (author)  jackjackboom2 years ago
Thanks!
kbanbury2 years ago
THAT IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!

RenewableYou (author)  kbanbury2 years ago
Thanks!